• Laura L.

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy for your Craft Brewery

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

Take your craft beer social media to the next level by building a social media marketing strategy in these 6 steps.

Why the need for a social strategy.

I think we can all agree social media is here to stay. Gone are the days where social media was not a viable marketing channel worth the time and investment by companies, small and large. It’s a serious contender for content marketing, advertising and demand generation funds as it offers businesses the highly unique opportunity to authentically engage with their ideal prospect and current customers. Not only do you get to hear what they love, and maybe don’t love, about your product or brand, but you get the chance to tap into their hearts and minds, to learn what they’re interested in, what influencers do they follow, what kind of content drives action. Heck, you can wish them a happy birthday or congratulate them on the big promotion! For most, social media is deeply personal. What other marketing channel gives you that kind of insight, authenticity and exposure to your best customers?


If you’re a numbers person and need a little more meat to that story, consider this:

Ready to get started? Read on.

Level set on your business and marketing objectives.

With so many exciting channels, filters and influencers out there in social space, it’s easy to see why many companies make the mistake of diving straight in to tactics – leading with questions like “what should we post today,” “should we give something away,” “what if we partner with a yoga studio and do something together on Instagram?” While all great questions, the problem with them is timing. Before you clearly define your business and marketing objectives, it’s impossible to know what tactics will make the most sense for your social media strategy.

Just like a snowflake, no two strategies will ever be identical. Or at least they probably shouldn’t be. That’s right. Your business, brand, products, employees, customers, locale, community involvement and events are unique to you, and your social media marketing strategy should accentuate that uniqueness.

Some examples of business objectives might include:

  • Increase revenue by 6%

  • Expand in core markets

  • Increase productivity by 10%

  • Maintain brand strength

  • Increase employee engagement by 8%

  • Protect retail share

Some examples of marketing objectives might include:

  • Drive more purchase decisions with target segment

  • Increase brand awareness and preference with new segment

  • Create, launch and sustain new product to fill this gap in the market

  • Drive efficiencies with digital marketing

  • Ensure brand consistency throughout every point in the production process, marketing strategies and customer experiences

  • Optimize products, experience and marketing spend for retail category

In our experience, it’s best to focus on 2-4 of these objectives when crafting your social media marketing strategy for your craft brewery, so keep that in mind as you’re working through this process.

Tie your objectives to goals.

Got your objectives in hand? Great! It’s time to put your money where your mouth is now. Now is the time to identify some goals for your craft beer social media strategy.

For it to be considered a legitimate goal, it needs to be a S.M.A.R.T goal. If you’re familiar with this, you know a S.M.A.R.T goal is defined as being:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Time-based

The caveat is that these goals need to tie back to the marketing and business objectives we identified above. A couple examples of a S.M.A.R.T goal for this use case might be something like:

  • Grow organic Instagram engagement with target customers by 10% year over year.

  • Increase event marketing email click-through rate by 8% year over year.

  • Create a content marketing strategy that increases awareness, drives consideration and encourages purchases for 2020.

  • Secure coverage of new product launch in a strategic local media outlet within 30 days of release

Make sense? Once you get started, you’ll get the hang of it!

Confirm your target audience.

Woohoo! Look at us. We have objectives. We have goals. Let’s take a minute to pause and confirm or identify who our target audience(s) are for these objectives and goals. To do it well, it can’t be everyone, especially when it comes to building an authentic and effective social media strategy.

If you need help figuring out who your best craft brewery customers are, we can help! Check out this article to get a handle on defining your craft beer audience.

Identify relevant high-impact strategies.

If you’re concerned you’ve done all this work and have yet to get to the strategy-building part, don’t worry. You’re here!

Now that we know what we specifically want to accomplish, and with whom, we can brainstorm and identify a few strategies to guide our tactics.

Let’s take our first goal from the above section and use it here: Grow organic Instagram engagement with target customers by 10% year over year.

A strategy for this goal might look like: Create engaging content that inspires and educates our target customers on Instagram.

With this strategy, you will reach your goal that supports your marketing and business objectives.

Plan tactics that will support the success of those strategies.

Tactics-planning is where the real fun happens – because there are so many to consider and test (play with). Think of tactics as the activities you can plan to bring your strategy to life.

Continuing with our strategy from above, let’s brainstorm some tactics that could be used to support this.

One of our strategies identified was to create engaging content that inspires and educates our target customers on Instagram.

Some of the tactics we might consider are the following:

  • Creating more video or a video series, as video content continues to deliver the highest levels of engagement across all social platforms. Depending on what drives your customers engagement, these videos could be a behind-the-scenes of your day-to-day brewery operations or an in-depth look at how your seasonal brew was conceived and created.

  • Create educational content that drives clicks, likes and comments. This content could be in the form of blogs, articles, infographics or just helpful posts. Educational themes could include:

  • What to expect on your first craft brewery visit

  • The best way to order and taste your craft beer flight

  • Which glass pairs best with which style of beer

  • Seasonal food and beer pairing recommendations

  • The basics of a brew – step by step

You get the idea…it’s to create content that is educational in nature and goes beyond “hey, check out our latest beer on tap.”

  • Identify a dozen influencers in your area that your key customers are listening to, and work with them on a collaboration, special event, Instagram takeover, guest post, review series, special-themed flight, etc. Investing in influencer relations not only gets you fresh content for your followers to engage with, but it also allows you to expand your reach by tapping into their audience as well.

Develop an integrated content calendar.

Now that we have our strategies and tactics in place, it’s time to bring it all together and figure out when and where it’s going to happen. This is where an integrated content calendar comes into play. Putting all these ideas onto paper helps you understand how they fit together, where you may have some gaps and gives your brain the freedom to think about other things – like brewing or managing your business.

An integrated content calendar may sound intimidating, but it’s not. We’ve worked with dozens of integrated marketing calendar templates. What works for you and your team might not work for another. So find one that works for you and commit to keeping it current.

In our experience, we’ve found that it’s best to set aside a small amount of time (~1 hour per week) to review it and make any future updates as needed. In this hour, you do not need to create the content itself, just plan who you will be targeting, when, where and what the content or call to action entails.

We’ve worked without a content calendar before, and we can tell you things flow so much better when you have one in place. And because of that, we’ve created this craft brewery content calendar template for you to begin with.

Align on reporting and success measurements.

Last but certainly not least - reporting and measurement. Within your social media marketing strategy playbook you need to outline how you will handle reporting and optimization. Many teams and organizations get so strained and exhausted from the actual content production and day-to-day community management of their social channels, reporting often gets left to the wayside.

While abandoning a formalized reporting cadence is not ideal, we definitely understand the challenges that small craft brewery marketing teams have to overcome. So our recommendation to those teams who are trying to do it all is to stay very focused. Again, it all goes back to your business and marketing objectives and those goals we outlined above.

Going back to our goal of increasing engagement on Instagram with our target customers by 10% year over year, the KPIs associated with that goal are:

- Engagement: Likes, Clicks, Comments, Mentions, Direct Messages, Video views, Engagement rate

With this specific goal, we don’t care about impressions or followers or share of voice. We simply care about engagement. And while we as marketing aficionados love to measure all the things, we understand not all teams have time for that, and that sometimes focus and commitment to measuring 1 thing is better than measuring nothing at all.

Measurement and reporting also gives you a chance to look back on all you’ve accomplished, how you changed the conversation with your customers, how your content game has improved and become more sophisticated and how your brand has evolved in that timeframe.

With all the noise, distractions and things your craft brewery has to take on, creating a social media marketing strategy is more important than ever before as it will allow you to confidently move forward with your social media marketing, freeing you up to do what you do best – keeping craft beer alive and well. If you’re going to “do” social media, we recommend you take the time to create your strategy, setting yourself up for success. We guarantee it will be time well spent.

If you’re looking for help creating your craft brewery’s social media strategy, give us a shout! We’re happy to help host a cross-functional session and walk through this process with you. And if you can’t wait to get started and are looking to burn tonight’s midnight oil, we’ve created this handy craft beer social media marketing strategy template presentation for you.



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